Waitrose & Partners increase support to Fairtrade farmers with new cocoa commitment

Waitrose & Partners has committed to making all cocoa in its own brand confectionery 100% Fairtrade by the end of the year.

The conversion to Fairtrade cocoa in all own brand confectionery will significantly increase the volume of Fairtrade cocoa sold in Waitrose & Partners stores, helping to improve living standards for cocoa farmers.

The commitment will extend to over 100 confectionery lines and increase the supermarket’s annual Fairtrade investment to more than $3.3 million, a figure that supports farmers, workers and producer organisations across the Fairtrade network.

Announced at Fairtrade Fortnight (February 25 – March 10), the commitment was celebrated by the Fairtrade Foundation, who this Fortnight will be highlighting the challenges cocoa farmers face in earning enough income to take them above the poverty line. Fairtrade will be encouraging governments, chocolate companies and other retailers to offer their support to help move towards a living income for cocoa farmers, with Waitrose & Partners’ commitment acting as a positive step towards more secure livelihoods for cocoa farmers.

Lizzie Sutcliffe, buyer of confectionery at Waitrose & Partners comments: “Responsible sourcing is something both we and our customers care deeply about. Given the popularity of our own brand confectionery and Fairtrade products in store, our new cocoa commitment is a natural fit and the perfect act of solidarity to support the Fairtrade Foundation in their campaign.

“The typical income cocoa farmers currently earn mean they often struggle to cover their production costs, even before affording essentials like food, clothing, education and healthcare. By supporting Fairtrade’s campaign and ensuring all cocoa in our own brand confectionery is Fairtrade certified, through the support of our customers, we can improve living standards for many cocoa farming communities in Africa.”

Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation, comments: “As our new report Craving change in chocolate outlines, the cocoa industry faces considerable challenges, with low prices, farmer poverty, lack of investment and pressure from climate change threatening the long term sustainability of the industry. Waitrose & Partners’ excellent commitment to Fairtrade will help many more cocoa farmers improve their livelihoods and see a better return for their hard work.”

In 2007, Waitrose & Partners became the first supermarket in the UK to sell Fairtrade bananas exclusively, a move that increased the number of ethically sourced bananas in the UK by 10%. Along with its new 100% cocoa commitment across all own brand confectionery, Waitrose & Partners is Fairtrade across all own brand tea, speciality sugars, block chocolate and cafe coffee and black tea. The food supermarket retailer also sells a number of branded Fairtrade products including Divine Chocolate and, new this month, Tony’s Chocolonely – a brand with a mission to make the chocolate industry 100% slave free.

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